KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNUNUWUG – There is a referendum today being held in the Northwestern Ontario First Nation community Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. The KI are holding a referendum on Consultation and Watershed issues. This move by the KI First Nation comes after band members were jailed in 2006 over refusing to allow a mining company onto their lands.
Today’s referendum, if passed by the people of KI will likely mark the start of a major shift in debate between First Nations, mining companies and the Ontario Government.
“The KI Consultation Protocol creates a process where activities affecting KI’s lands and resources must only proceed with KI’s free, prior and informed consent. The KI Protocol sets out how KI consent will be given freely, where KI people are fully informed of the consequences, prior to any decision being made and according to KI’s own laws and decision making processes.”
“The KI Water Declaration says that” The entire Big Trout Lake watershed(s), including all of Big Trout Lake, a buffer zone around the lake of x kilometres and the watersheds of all the rivers flowing into and out of Big Trout Lake are excluded from any and all development.”
“Finally, the production sharing agreement says that KI own all the resources on KI territory. Resource developers can only enter KI lands under the terms of an access agreement where they agree that KI owns all the products of the lands and will negotiate a production sharing agreement with the resource developer. This goes beyond the revenue sharing where First Nations must acknowledge that the Crown owns the resources.”
Chief Donny Morris and his Council also state, “For KI, this is a huge step to bring a different world for our own. We know we will face legal uncertainty perhaps another jailing. So be it!”